Windows Media Player 11 is Big Brother?

Watch out! Don’t burn that Shania Twain CD with Microsoft Windows Media Player 11, or it might encode whatever you rip with DRM.

Slashdot tells us that Microsoft is tightening the thumbscrews in Windows Media Player 11, by removing the ability to transfer music from machine to machine. This includes mp3s that you rip from your own CDs.

“If you rip your own CDs and the ‘Copy protect music’ option is turned on, WMP11 will require you to ‘connect to a Microsoft Web page that explains how to restore your rights a limited number of times.”

Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Windows Media Player, but a lot of people do. Other programs can be unwieldy and complicated, and a lot of users are clueless about DRM. One only has to take a glance at the comments on Slashdot to understand, as one commenter said, “why iTunes is so hugely popular…” Ugh. Maybe we should all go back to vinyl?

Click here for more vitriol about WMP11


Edit Your Comment

  1. synergy says:

    So this makes it sound like the “Copy Protect Music” option is something that can be turned off and on. If it’s something that can be turned off, why all the bitching?

  2. The trend in recording–the point of recording–had always been to allow people to hear music where and when they wanted to. That’s why it was a viable business in the first place. Microsoft and others are programming themselves into a corner now: in wanting to keep the business viable, they’re making listening to music less convenient.

    It’s like Levi’s starting to sell designer jeans. They’re going against their whole reason for existing.

    (And, yep, people are going back to vinyl.)

  3. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Orchestra is doing something quite enlightened: cheap DRM-free downloadable recordings.

  4. Memo to Meghann: This does *not* affect mp3’s that you’ve created yourself. You simply don’t have the option to create an mp3 of music that is DRM’d. If you rip a CD with “Copy protect music” on then you are effectively restricting yourself to use of the WMA format and will not be able to convert to MP3. This is not a change in behavior for WMP. The change here is that now that license management is not done locally you now have to go to a webpage to “restore” your rights. (bad, see below for the real message that was missed by this post).

    Memo to consumers: Turn “Copy Protect Music” off. Oh wait, it’s off by default.

    You missed the larger issue that directly affects consumers: WMP 11 no longer allows you to back up your own licenses. Licenses will be distributed differently depending on where you get them from. For instance, if you buy X songs from and you lose your hard drive, it is now’s discretion whether or not to give you the licenses back that you paid for. Microsoft is quick to point out that each license distributor controls exclusive access to license redistribution at their whim.

  5. Funnier yet, since I’m probably one of the only people who actually bothered to check, there is a helpful link that says “Learn more about copy protection” next to the “Copy protect music” checkbox. When you click on it, you can read where Microsoft says about moving files:

    If you intend to use your ripped music on multiple computers, do not copy protect the files. If you want to limit the distribution of any songs that you rip, turn on copy protection before ripping.

    Back to work, fearmongers.

  6. bxurbanlegend says:

    The first thing everyone should do is configure they’re media player before using it. I always make sure to do this or else the defaults would wreak havoc with my collection. My WMP 11 obeys me and me alone and never talks to MS about anything we are doing.

  7. Mattazuma says:

    The same option is in Media Player 10. It was probably in Media Player 9 as well.

    Like something_amazing said, “Back to work, fearmongers”

  8. viriiman says:

    Uninstall MP11, and in it’s place install media player classic and iTunes. Problems solved, and with a lot less “bloat”.

  9. Spiny Norman says:

    I’m here to echo viriiman’s solution: Avoid using the WMP solution altogether and use a third party solution like Easy CD-DA Converter or Nero 6. Slimmer, meaner, and no DRM issues.

  10. Keira says:

    Anyone who uses a program with such a ugly GUI has no reason to complain about the product being crappy. It always seems as if Microsoft were imitating a sneaker.

  11. chartrule says:

    it seems to be more than just the media player
    I purchased a dell pc and tried to transfer songs from my minidisk to the dell through the sony software (the songs had been put on the minidisk through my old pc )and the dell right refused to transfer

    the sony software is Sonicstage

    so its not just windows media player

  12. If you intend to use your ripped music on multiple computers, do not copy protect the files. If you want to limit the distribution of any songs that you rip, turn on copy protection before ripping.

    What an elegant solution, instead of giving you the ability to authorize and de-authorize machines and iPods of your choosing.

    I’m sorry, but sometimes I swear Microsoft is trying to give business away to Apple. First a brown music player that automatically DRMs your music files if you try to wirelessly “share” them (with whom?) and now this?